3 Quick Team Building Activities to bring Resilience into the workplace

Looking for a quick win? We’ve got a few suggestions for quick activities you can roll out in the workplace, immediately.  

Each of these team building activities is a quick way to foster resilience in your team while at the same time reinforcing relationships between the members of the team. 

They all require minimal set-up time and materials and are designed to be short enough to fit into the lunch break. 

Let’s take a look at the 3:

Team Building Activity for Resilience #1

Storytelling Activity – 30 minutes

This creative exercise is a quick team building activity that gives members of the team an opportunity to foster mental agility – one of the key attributes of highly resilient people. 

Mental agility is the ability to:

  • Recognise that our interpretations of events in our lives are just that: interpretations. That they are a story we make up in order to make sense of what is happening – rather than an objective fact. 
  • Notice the interpretations (or ‘stories’) we come up with, the ones which do not serve us well.
  • Create alternative interpretations that optimise our problem-solving capacity, ability to maintain positive relationships and resilience.

How the team building activity is done:

  1. Introduce the concept of mental agility to the group, using the brief description above.
  2. Split the group into pairs. 
  3. Ask each person to spend 5 minutes describing to their partner a time in their professional life when they observed a conflict, and the interpretations they think each of the parties in the conflict had (i.e. the stories they were telling themselves about the other people/person and the broader situation).
  4. Ask the partner to actively listen to the details of this conflict that the person they are paired with is describing. Suggest they ask open questions about it as they listen (how, what, where, when, who) to gain maximum understanding in the 5 minutes.
  5. Once the conflict has been described, the partner who listened is then tasked with using the next 5 minutes to suggest alternative stories that those involved in the conflict could have told themselves instead. Stories that would have reduced or minimised the conflict.
  6. Then the pair swap roles, and a new conflict with its ‘stories’ is described in detail for the first 5 minutes, and then alternative stories are suggested using the second 5 minutes.
  7. The final 10 minutes of the activity is spent coming back together as a group inviting sharing of the stories that fuelled conflicts, and the alternative stories that could have been used in their place.

Team Building Activity for Resilience #2

Make Time To Do The Things You Enjoy Activity – 30 minutes

Experiencing more positive emotions in day-to-day life is a foundational aspect of building more resilience.

Intentionally creating and scheduling opportunities to experience enjoyment is an effective way to ensure that this happens. 

This quick team building activity encourages people to recognise the role of positive emotion in resilience and to then commit to taking planned action around this.

How it’s done:

  1. Split the team into discussion groups of 5 people. 
  2. Ask each group to spend 5 minutes discussing what is important about making time to do things they enjoy, and ask them to make a note of the key points that came up in their discussion on a piece of flip chart paper.
  3. Gather up the groups’ paper when the time is up, and display the papers on a wall. Do a brief review of the themes that emerged – what is important about doing the things we enjoy.
  4. Next hand out 3 post it notes to each person in the team and ask them to write down 1 thing that they really enjoy doing on each of them, and then to stick the notes up on the wall.
  5. When all the notes are up on the wall, invite everyone to take a coloured pen and mark a cross on just one of their post-it note activities that they are going to make a firm commitment to doing/doing more of, within the next week.
  6. When this is done, ask people to pair up with a F.A.P (‘Fun Accountability Partner’!), to show them the activity they have picked, tell them briefly why they love it, and finally tell them when and where they plan to do it in the week. F.A.P’s then shake on their commitment to do their respective activities, and importantly, commit to catch up with each other in a week’s time to find out if the activities got done.

Team Building Activity for Resilience #3

Pair Breathing Activity – 20 minutes

This is slightly unusual but very effective quick team building activity that introduces the team to a powerful meditative breathing technique and gives them the chance to practise it with multiple partners. Having a one-to-one shared experience of meditation builds trust between members of the team as well as providing a no frills tool for mindfulness that when practised daily will boost resilience at a physiological level.

How it’s done:

  1. Introduce the 4 by 4 breathing method…Through your nose, breathe in for a count of 4, hold the inhale for a count of 4, through your mouth, exhale for a count of 4, hold exhale for a count of 4. Repeat 4 times.
  2. Split the team in half.
  3. Ask one half to form a circle facing outwards.
  4. Ask the other half to form a circle facing inwards, surrounding the first circle, so each person is facing a partner, about a metre away from one another.
  5. Explain that when you give the signal, those in the inner circle will begin the breathing exercise by taking the first in-breath, and then their outer pairs will join them after a slight delay, by starting their first inhalation when the inner partner starts their first exhalation. In this way, the pairs will be sharing in the pauses and working in compliment to one another with their inhalations and exhalations. Ask that when they have completed 4 cycles to stop.
  6. Ask both circles to then slowly rotate in opposite directions, and ask them to stop on your signal (e.g. a clap of the hands), so that they are facing a new partner to repeat the exercise with.
  7. Ask both circles to then slowly rotate in opposite directions, and ask them again to stop on your signal (e.g. a clap of the hands), so that they are facing a new partner to repeat the exercise with one last time.
  8. Finally, break the circles, regroup the team as a whole and ask if anyone feels a difference inside themselves having done the 4 by 4 breathing exercise. 

There’s your triad of meaningful exercises. Why not make a mini lunch-and-learn series out of these 3 quick team-building activities to bring more resilience to your workplace? 

Liked this? Want more? We lead work-based Resilience sessions. Get in touch to find out more from the team.